This can be a touchy subject. I found that when you are pregnant, everyone wants to give you advice. This increases even more when you have the baby. It is one thing if it is immediate friends and family, but I find that even strangers will stop and chat and offer advice. There is nothing wrong with people suggesting to you what worked for them and what didn’t work, however, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. People subscribe to different schools of thought when it comes to babies.
There are the really laid back moms, who “go with the flow” and take advice freely, try out what other people say and don’t get stressed out about their baby. There are the “by the book” moms, who have read up on everything, including the most current research regarding child rearing and follow every theory they can find. There are the medically based moms who follow everything that their doctor or paediatrician tells them, even if the care provider is having a busy day and isn’t really listening to their questions properly and tells them to give any over the counter medications to their baby and they read the box and it says “not to be given to children under age 2”. There are the “tree hugger” moms, who only buy organic toys, bedding and items for the baby and think that everything around the baby is toxic (it probably is) and only feed their babies organic homemade food. There are the “new wave educated” moms, who have read up on the current research regarding toxins, etc to avoid, and are trying to make their baby homemade organic food, but will compromise with their toys, bedding etc. as the baby is not the “bubble boy” and no matter what you do, they will encounter some sort of toxin! The list could go on and on.
Keep in mind that I totally made up these categories, but I think that I fall in the “new wave educated” mom category. I have read all of the research and listened to my doctor/ Ob-gyn, but found that some of the things that they told me didn’t seem to make sense. Many of them were quick to push drugs when perhaps they weren’t needed and that is not always the answer for a young baby. I had an Ob-Gyn for 5 months who was great and was educated at Harvard (really smart!). I was on a waiting list for a midwife and had given up. I transitioned to a midwife at 5 months and it was like a whole new world opened up! I had a say in my care and in what I wanted to put in my body. I was educated about all of the upcoming tests and could refuse to do them if I chose to. Whereas, with my Ob-Gyn, I was handed a requisition and was told to get certain tests done not knowing what they were testing for or that I had a choice to say no. The midwife was actually open to techniques/ natural methods for pain relief, getting the baby to change position, and having a delivery the way that I wanted to in my birthing plan (although nothing went as planned and my delivery turned into a medically induced gong show!).
Anyways, regardless, the point I’m trying to make is to do your research and to figure out what school of thought you want to follow. Keep in mind that you are the mom and you make the decisions for what is best for your baby, no matter what anyone says. As long as you are educated and know why you are doing certain things, or why you do/don’t want to give your baby vaccinations, or why you are following a certain method of introducing foods, no one can make you feel bad (although they may try really hard to).
This past weekend, I ran into a rather awkward confrontational situation that made me very angry. I was at a family baby shower and took Cubby with me. I let everyone hold her and play with her and it was nice to give my arms a break from always holding her. I had an aunt who was holding Cubby and I happened to glance over and saw that it looked like she wanted to give Cubby a bit of her piece of cake. Now I know that this may not seem like a big deal to many of you out there, but to me it was a big deal. I tried to explain to this aunt that Cubby is only almost 9 months old and I don’t think she should be eating a processed piece of cake or the sugar that goes along with it. I know that it wouldn’t kill her, but it kind of undermines everything that I have been trying to do with a slow introduction of solid foods to try to reduce food sensitivities and not bombard her system with foods that are difficult to digest.
I got into it with this aunt and tried to explain that Cubby will not be having any sugar any time soon. She put me on the spot and asked me what kind of a diet she was on, what I was feeding her, if I give her jar baby food, how much she was eating, and went on to say that babies can eat everything after 6 months of age. I’m sorry, I don’t recall reading anything that said that all foods are fair game after 6 months of age! I became really upset and thought that in this day and age, when some children can have allergies to food such as nuts, strawberries, kiwis, etc, how can you not ask the parent before attempting to give a baby any random food?
Perhaps it sounds like I am over the top, but the whole situation was awkward and unnecessary. If I am the mom, I will choose when Cubby eats sugar and most likely it will be me feeding her a piece of cake at her first birthday! Some people may not agree with the way I am introducing foods to Cubby or not giving her Tylenol immediately for a low fever, but it is my choice. And after dealing with my own stomach problems for the past 14 years and trying the medical way consisting of numerous medications, non stop tests, doctors telling me that I was “making up my symptoms”, or the usual “It’s just IBS”, I feel that I have earned the right to follow a more natural way and not what the usual doctor or paediatrician suggests. In no way do I judge others for following medical advice or giving their babies medications. Again, as a mom, you do what you feel is right and what you are comfortable with. People are always going to be giving you advice, but it’s up to you to follow that advice or not.
I sometimes feel that being a new mom is a thankless job and no matter how hard you try and what you do for the good of your baby, someone will look at you and tell you that you are doing things wrong. I have had positive support and encouragement from my husband, my mom and most of my new mommy friends. There have been many Negative Nellys along the way, and I have taken what they have said to heart on many occasions, but at the end of the day, I know that I am a good mom and I am only doing the best that I can and what is best for my little Cubby.
Have you had difficult situations with people giving you advice? Or have you heard some wonky advice that just didn’t seem to make sense? Feel free to comment!